By Carl Fraser
The legendary basketball-style canvas shoe is a iconic piece of fashion that has proved popular for many generations. The traditional Converse shoe was first manufactured over 100 years ago, and to date, well over nine hundred million pairs have been sold. So, why the love-affair with Converse?
Movies and celebrities have played a large part in the popularity of this type of shoe - Tom Hanks, River Phoenix, Jeff Bridges, Mike Myers, Michael Keaton, Michael J.Fox and Arnold Schwarzenegger have all starred in movies wearing a pair of 'Chuck Taylor All Stars'. TV programs such as "The Wonder Years" have also ensured the shoe is rarely off the screen. In the BBC TV Series "Doctor Who", the tenth Doctor, David Tennant would wear a pair of white Converse with his suit in every episode. This look was apparently chosen by Tennant himself when working on the clothing for the character.
Converse All Stars, or 'Chucks' as they are commonly known are a classic American icon that has spread the world over. They were first sold in 1917 and amazingly the style and production materials have remained almost the same ever since. They are also a truly unisex shoe, with the vast majority of styles being available in male and female sizes.
The construction of the shoe is very simple; it consists of a rubber sole, with a canvas top. This helps to keep the price low, and means it's easy to change the top to new designs and colors. The shoe is also suitable for both vegans and vegetarians. With vegetarian shoes now becoming very popular, this market is extremely important to Converse.
The diversity of the appeal is immense; in the UK, Conservative party leader David Cameron was clearly seen wearing a pair of Converse All Stars in a highly distributed photograph. For many fashion brands, this would be the ultimate 'kiss of death', but Converse just seems to get stronger and stronger.
The company was purchased by giant Nike in 2003 and they have ambitious plans for the future. Recent collaboration with bands such as AC/DC, Pink Floyd, The Who and Blondie have also seen a range of new styles of Converse coming through, widening their appeal even further.
Undoubtedly, the appeal of Converse will diminish to some degree in the future, but when and by how much is uncertain. One thing that is almost certain is that with such a strong following, the long-term prospects for this brand are very good indeed and Converse All Stars will still be worn by many future generations.
Carl Fraser is Managing Director of Totally Commerce Ltd, owners of http://www.TotallyShoes.co.uk - Retailers of leading brand footwear in the UK.
Totally Commerce Ltd also operate several other websites in different business areas.
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